Jakarta – BRIN Public Relations. The ‘brain drain’ phenomenon, under which national talents choose to go and work overseas seemingly challenges Indonesia to seek to maintain and recall the diaspora home. As the leading sector in the National Talent Management Task Force formed by President Joko Widodo, how will the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) respond to it?

Head of BRIN, Laksana Tri Handoko, explained that the National Talent Management Group consists of three sectors. “The position and role of BRIN are in research and innovation, sports at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and arts and culture at the Ministry of Education and Culture,” he explained in an interview with Radio Idola (7/2) by telephone.

With regard to the flow out of national talents, Handoko views that firdt we have to see what object they are researching. “If it is not or not yet available in Indonesia, then of course they cannot do research here,” he said.

He said that since 2019 BRIN has successfully attracted the diaspora. “Last year we opened 325 formations for candidates with doctoral degree backgrounds. In the future, we are seeing to attract home 500 people every year,” he explained.

According to him, there are two things that make them (diaspora) want to return home. “First, the environment, the ecosystem in which can make them continue their passion according to their field and expertise. The research and management tools must at least close to the global standards,” he said. “Secondly, inevitably the finance. If we compare it to Malaysia, the situation here is already competitive and even more attractive because here we can get permanent positions. In terms of total take home pay, it is comparable,” he explained.

Recently, President Jokowi asked Ainun Najib to return to Indonesia and hopes that his thoughts can contribute more to Indonesia. Commenting on this, Handoko said that in certain cases, contribution can be made from outside, not necessarily has to return to Indonesia. “We have to see if the ecosystem here has or not supported his field and expertise? That has to be confirmed first,” he asserted.

Handoko is of the opinion that what the president has said is an example, not necessarily that Ainun must return. “The president wants to show that there are good human resources there (Singapore). If the ecosystem does not support them here, it would instead destroy them. There, he is too part of a system. Do we here have similar system that can support (his fields and expertise)?” he added.

With regard to research ecosystem development, Handoko said that Indonesia has already started to do so. “We have, are, and will continue to do so very quickly, but there are so many areas of expertise to accommodate. For research, we have done quite well, and we are more prepared,” he explained.

“We keep trying, and the effort to attract as many (diaspora) as possible is correct. There are many cases in which they do not need to come home, but we ask them to collaborate. So we have to see it case by case,” he explained.

At the end of the interview, Handoko emphasized that the way to retain and attract our talents is to build a research ecosystem related to their field. At BRIN, he said, we do not only attract domestic talents, but also foreign talents. “All countries do that. If we do not do that, then we will be left behind. For research cases, researchers must do their research here, that is the best,” he concluded. (drs)